"launching a business is not a distant dream anymore."
Indian businessman Suumit Shah is being criticised after he said that his firm had replaced 90% of its support staff with an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot.
The CEO of Dukaan took to Twitter to make the announcement.
Mr Shah said it was a “tough” decision but defended his firm’s actions, stating that AI had yielded faster results.
He said: “The results?
“Time to first response went from 1m 44s to INSTANT!
“Resolution time went from 2h 13m to 3m 12s.
“Customer support costs reduced by ~85%”
We had to layoff 90% of our support team because of this AI chatbot.
Tough? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.
Time to first response went from 1m 44s to INSTANT!
Resolution time went from 2h 13m to 3m 12s
Customer support costs reduced by ~85%
Here's how's we did it ????
— Suumit Shah (@suumitshah) July 10, 2023
Mr Shah went on to share how his company moved to AI.
He continued: “Given the state of economy, start-ups are prioritising ‘profitability’ over striving to become ‘unicorns’, and so are we.”
Mr Shah added that customer support had been a struggle for the firm for a long time and he was looking to fix this.
He also revealed how they built the chatbot and the AI platform for the firm in a short span of time so that Dukaan’s customers could have their own AI assistant.
The businessman said the bot was answering all kinds of queries with speed and accuracy.
Another tweet read: “In the age of instant gratification, launching a business is not a distant dream anymore.
“With the right idea, the right team, anyone can turn their entrepreneurial dreams into reality.”
He added that the firm was hiring for multiple roles.
However, his tweets sparked outrage, with many accusing Suumit Shah of disrupting the lives of his employees with this “heartless” decision.
One person asked: “As expected, didn’t find any mention about the 90% staff that were laid off. What assistance were they provided?”
Another said: “Maybe it was the right decision for the business, but it shouldn’t have turned into a celebratory/marketing thread about it.”
Mr Shah defended his decision to replace staff members with AI, saying:
“As expected, someone will get offended on behalf of someone else.”
He added that he would post about assistance for his staff on LinkedIn because on Twitter, people are searching for “profitability and not sympathy”.
The decision comes at a time when there has been a lot of conversation about AI in the workplace.
In recent years, generative AI tools like ChatGPT have proliferated and become more accessible.
There have been reports of organisations using these tools to increase productivity while cutting costs. However, this has made workers fearful about losing their jobs to technology.